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Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney splits from wife

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) Former Beatle Paul McCartney and his second wife Heather Mills are to separate after four years of marriage, the couple confirmed in a statement today.

McCartney, 63, and former model Mills, 38, who married at a lavish wedding ceremony in Ireland in June 2002, had decided to split because constant media intrusion had made ''it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship''.

''Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways,'' the statement said.

''Our parting is amicable and both of us still care about each other very much.'' The couple, who have a two-year-old baby girl called Beatrice, met in 1999 at a charity event, a year after the death of McCartney's first wife, photographer Linda Eastman, from breast cancer.

The announcement follows weeks of speculation in British newspapers about the state of the couple's relationship.

The Daily Mirror reported today that the split had come about because the singer could no longer cope with the couple's bitter rows.

REUTERS AD RN1741

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